As a newspaper writer years ago, the source meant everything. In fact, editors insisted on at least three solid sources per article. Why? Because the sources determined the validity and impact of the words written.
When I taught writing and speech classes years later, I also stressed the importance of solid sources for conveying and supporting ideas. In fact, we spent a great deal of time determining how to identify credible sources.
The fact remains that the credibility of our words play a large role in our overall reputation. That holds true for individuals as much as is does in the media.
Considering the source makes all the difference in how the words of a person, whether writing or speaking, are received, accepted, believed, and followed.
Careless words ruin a person’s credibility, certainly for the short-term. But the longer they precede a person and mark their presence, the more long-term, negative impact careless words have on a person’s reputation.
Careless words usually indicate carelessness in some area of a person’s inner life, often symptomatic of a much bigger problem. Our words and actions indicate the condition of the heart and, when careless or unloving, usually point to an unbalanced state in some aspect of the inner self. The more a habit of careless words receives room to roam, the greater the storm’s rage and the more numerous the careless words.
The only way to calm this storm is addressing the root cause. This means considering the source of what’s coming out of a person’s mouth.
Begin the process by asking some tough but necessary questions. Does your source of supply — your automatic way of dealing with life — come in the form of acting, moving, talking and pushing? Is this your “go to” pace of life? If it is, consider how calming every aspect of life from your schedule to the words you speak could bring you to a stable source or supply on a consistent basis.
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
The flow of careless words decreases and may even stop altogether when we quit trying to make things happen. For example, when we try to talk people into things or attempt to justify our choices. More time spent in rest and quietness, as Jesus made a point to do regularly (Mark 1:35), reduces the number of unnecessary words by focusing us on the only source that can tame the tongue.
Return: Turn from pursuing other solutions and put your faith completely upon God. Press into Him.
Rest: Stop your frantic activity and wait for God to act.
Quietness: Settle down.
Confidence: Renew your faith in God and what He promises in His Word.
When we’re out of control and not letting God direct our lives, not setting Him as our source of supply for all of our words, thoughts, attitudes, and actions (Psalm 19:14 & James 1:26), we lose the ability to glorify Him. Our lives simply appear chaotic, holding nothing beneficial for others to desire to pursue.
Often, the root cause of our careless lives, which often becomes first apparent in the words we speak, involves failing to heed Isaiah’s advice. The more we purpose to implement these elements into our lives and allow God to be the source of all that we are, the more we’ll realize the value of returning to God, in resting in the quietness of His presence and in having confidence for Him to renew us.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life… so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.” (1 Thessalonians 9:11-12)